The Dharma Overground is a resource for the support of practices that actually lead to beneficial, fundamental mental, perceptual and emotional transformations. It is a place where everything related to the support of practice may flourish, including where to go on retreats, what techniques may lead to what, an in depth look at the maps of possible states and stages, discussions about how to determine what experience was what, and in general anything that has to do with actually practicing rather than what typically occurs in, for example, standard meditation circles and forums. Here you will find a robust and variable community of people with a wide range of experience levels, perspectives and interests, though all loosely bound by the same basic principles of empowering, helpful, engaged knowledge and exploration of the possibilities of the mind and how it may be modified to reduce suffering and enhance wisdom.
In general our basic principles and attitudes favor:
- pragmatism over dogmatism: what works is key, with works generally meaning the stages of insight, the stages of enlightenment, states of deep concentration, freedom from suffering in what ways are possible, the criteria for various attainments, actual discussion of one's experience and the results of practice, etc.
- diligent practice over blind faith: this place is about doing it and understanding for yourself rather than believing someone else and not testing those beliefs out
- openness regarding what the techniques may lead to and how these contrast or align with the traditional models
- personal responsibility: you take responsibility for the choices you make and what you say and claim
- a lack of taboos surrounding talking about attainments
- the assumption that the various aspects of meditative development can be mastered in this life
- the spirit of mutual, supportive adventurers on the path rather than rigid student-teacher relationships
- and the notion that the collective wisdom of a group of strong practitioners at various stages and from various traditions and backgrounds is often better than following one guru-type.
- Inclusion: Diversity is encouraged. If you are interested in the topics we emphasize here and in maintaining a culture conducive to supporting deep and open discussions of these things, then you are welcome here. Specifically, LGBTQIASetc., POC, white, women, men, trans, cis, other, etc. are welcome here. Please help maintain a culture of conversation that supports the deep practice of all people. May the teachings and practice of wisdom be open and available to all who seek them.
There are lots of ways up the mountain, and many interesting skills and insights to develop using many traditions and paths. Make yourself at home. Discover the possibilities of how straightforward, down-to-Earth, and practical the Dharma can be. May all find something here that is of value and contribute to the wisdom represented and conveyed here.
Note well: the culture of open disclosure of practice is rare and requires vigilance to maintain. You are welcome to participate here so long as you help maintain that space in which deep practice can be discussed.
Standard netiquette, aka common courtesy: The forum works best when everybody posts from a place of mutual consideration and thoughtfulness towards others. Constructive criticism and critiques are highly encouraged, but should be done so in a calm, considerate manner. Avoid abrasiveness, derision, insults and mockery. The Core Rules of Netiquette are a good general guide as to how to help this place support deep practice, and the Moderators are empowered to help direct things towards this fine ideal.
If you require a space to discuss deep topics that is more private, this could be discussed with Daniel Ingram.
To help keep the place more inviting of participation by those who can benefit from helpful friends supporting friends in their practices and sharing the intimate and deep adventures that these explorations can produce, the following ground rules have been adopted:
- No name-calling or ad hominem attacks
- No on-and-on repetitious, angry rants that marshal no supporting evidence, target an interlocutor, and have the effect of intimidating the interlocutor.
- No threats of violence, even if metaphorical or aimed at no one in particular
- No taunting, mocking, or intimidation of an individual or a group on the basis of race/ethnicity, sex, disability (including mental illness), sexual orientation, religious preference, or spiritual practice
- No speech acts that would be actionable under US criminal or civil tort law
- Don't post copyrighted material that you don't have the right or permission to post or distribute except snippets allowed under fair use.
The Moderators (contact info there) will warn and, as a second step ban posters who are absolutely not willing to respect these rules.
When in doubt, ask, "Is this helpful and conducive to clarity, wisdom, and the alleviation of suffering?"
Finding your way around this site
In the Discussion area you'll find a robust and active community of members discussing both the theory and practice of meditation with the most recent posts here. You need only sign up for a free account to participate there. If possible, use your real name as your name unless you really need to not be discovered posting on a place like this by someone for whatever reason. This makes things more real-world, which is what this place is about. For those who must remain cloaked behind a pseudonym, this is better than nothing and acceptable.
For information on the basics of how this new site works and many other things, click the FAQ's tab above.
In the Dharma Wiki section you'll find an exposition of the various foundational principles, concepts, teachings, techniques, & maps that are often referenced here on the Dharma Overground. You can read the most Most Recent Wiki Updates. This is an amazing resource for new and seasoned practitioners alike. Finally, if you still don't know what the Dharma Overground is about check out the Frequently Asked Questions.
Forum posting instructions: click on the Discussion tab, then the Message Boards Home tab, then click on the appropriate category (realizing they span two pages), then Post New Thread. Best wishes!